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Friday, 9 December 2011

From Today's Papers - 09 Dec 2011

India concerned over Sino-Pak nuclear cooperation in PoK 
Ashok Tuteja/TNS  New Delhi, December 8 India today expressed concern over certain aspects of the China-Pakistan relationship, particularly the nuclear cooperation between them in Pakistan occupied Kashmir (PoK). However, the government was keeping a constant watch on all developments having a bearing on India's security, Minister of State for External Affairs Preneet Kaur told Parliament.  The nuclear nexus between Pakistan and China has been a cause for concern not only to India but the entire international community for quite sometime. Beijing has also in recent months confirmed that it proposes to build two nuclear plants for Pakistan at Chashma, virtually in disregard of the guidelines of the Nuclear Suppliers' Group (NSG).  Meanwhile, regarding the Sino-Indian border dispute, she said there was no commonly delineated Line of Actual Control (LAC) between the two countries.  From time to time, on account of differences in the perception of the LAC, situations have arisen on the ground that could have been avoided if the two countries had a common perception of the LAC.  Kaur said the government was regularly taking up any transgression along the LAC with the Chinese side through established mechanisms, including border meetings, flag meetings and diplomatic channels.  E Ahamed, the other Minister of State for External Affairs, told the Upper House that India had clearly told China that the oil and gas exploration activities by the Indian companies in the South China Sea off the Vietnam coast were purely commercial in nature and the dispute should be sorted out in accordance with international laws.  Oil exploration activities by India's ONGC Videsh in the South China Sea waters off Vietnam had recently irked China, which claims the region as its own and says activities by foreign companies in its waters undermine its sovereignty.  The South China Sea dispute had also figured in talks between Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and his Chinese counterpart Wen Jiabao in Bali last month on the sidelines of East Asia and ASEAN summits. The minister said sovereignty over the areas of the South China Sea was disputed between many countries and India was not a party to that. "As two developing countries with growing energy needs, India and Vietnam have been cooperating in the oil and gas industry to enhance their energy security," he said.
Indian Army not to hire men with tattoos   Read more at:
Jammu:  The Indian Army will not recruit men with permanent tattoos anywhere on the body, save the arms. The Army says permanent tattoos are health hazard, as they can act as carriers for certain diseases.  It is enforcing the recent ban with firmness and young men with tattoos were turned away at several Army recruitment camps held recently at Akhnoor, 40 kilometers from Jammu. As many as 30% of those who came in had permanent tattoos, a senior officer who conducts recruitment said.  Brigadier Vinod Raizada, Deputy Director General, Recruiting, Jalandhar Cantonment, said, "We have instructions since November that any person with tattoos anywhere on the body, except for the arms, cannot be recruited in the Indian Army."  Many of those turned away say they were not aware of the new rule. "I had a tattoo inked four years ago; I had no knowledge of this rule," said Adrees Ahmad, a candidate at a recent Army camp.  Another aspirant, Munazar Hussain Shah said he always wanted to join the Army, but did not know of the ban on tattoos when he got one.  A tattoo shop owner in Jammu, Sunny, says he spends a lot of time trying to talk people who walk into his parlour, out of getting inked in places that clothing won't cover, but more needs to be done. "Clean and sterilised needles must be used. This is a good profession," he says in defense of his craft.  Not that the Army ruling has affected the tattoo business here. Young people continue to flock the many tattoo parlours that dot the city.     Read more at:
India-China defence dialogue Friday
New Delhi, Dec 8, (IANS):  India and China hold their annual defence dialogue Friday when the two sides will exchange their perspectives on regional and global security issues, apart from planning for their 2012 military exchanges, a government official said Thursday.  At the fourth round of the annual defence dialogue to be held here, India's Defence Secretary Shashikant Sharma and Chinese Deputy Chief of General Staff of the People's Liberation Army (PLA) General Ma Xiaotian will also review the ongoing confidence building measures on the borders between the two sides, defence ministry officials said here.  The Chinese delegation is scheduled to arrive at the Indira Gandhi International Airport Friday morning, and soon after their dialogue will begin here.  Xiaotian will also call on Defence Minister A.K. Antony in the afternoon, officials said. "During the annual defence dialogue, both sides will exchange perspectives on regional and global security issues. Both sides will also review the ongoing confidence building measures on the borders and are expected to finalise plans for further defence exchanges during 2012," an official said.  The two nations are going ahead with their dialogue despite the setback 12 days ago when the border talks between the special representatives from the two sides were suspended over China's objection to India hosting a global Buddhist meet in which Tibetan spiritual leader the Dalai Lama was a special guest.  The defence dialogue comes after more than a year as India had suspended exchanges with China to protest the denial of proper visa to its then commander of Indian Army troops in the state of Jammu and Kashmir in mid-2010. It was revived after Prime Minister Manmohan Singh's visit to Sanya for the first BRICS (Brazil, Russia, India, China, South Africa) summit earlier this year.  From the Indian side, a multi-command delegation led by a Major General, heading a counter-insurgency force in Jammu and Kashmir, visited China June 19-23 this year and it was reciprocated by China with a PLA delegation to India Nov 4-9.  "Both sides will undertake a further round of delegation exchanges before the end of this month," the official said.  Among the exchanges could be a joint army exercise that the two sides have not held since 2008.  The joint exercise, named "Hand-in-Hand", was inaugurated in December 2007 when an Indian Army team visited China for sharing of skills and experience in counter-terrorism operations. The second edition of Hand-in-Hand was held in Belgaum in Karnataka in December 2008, when India hosted the Chinese army team.  If the third edition is held in 2012, it will be again hosted by China. However, the two sides may also raise irritants in the military relations. India may raise transgressions by Chinese personnel and aircraft into Indian territory, while China may flag its concerns over Indian warships venturing into the South China Sea, which Beijing views as its backyard.  But both sides are likely to stick to their respective stand on the lack of clarity on the Line of Actual Control and the freedom of navigation in international waters in the backdrop of these issues over which the two sides have sparred in recent months.
Outdated spy equipment case: Defence Ministry orders probe
New Delhi, Dec 8 (PTI) Defence Ministry today ordered an inquiry into reports of procurement of outdated spying equipment by Army's Military Intelligence branch from an Indian company. Citing defence documents, The Hindu newspaper in a report published today suggested that the equipment and software procured by the Army for collection of photogrammetry and geographical information system data are outdated as the Indian firm did not possess the license to upgrade and update these. "An inquiry has been ordered to probe the matter," a Defence Ministry spokesperson said here today while refusing to elaborate when his comments were sought on the news report. The report alleged that the Army paid more than Rs 500 crore for purchasing the equipment from 1998 to 2008 and it paid a little over Rs 40 crore per annum for its annual maintenance contract. It said the contract under which these equipments were procured, overlooked some of the clauses due to which the guarantee and warranty for these products were not obtained by the Army. Some of the documents cited by the report said the Indian firm which supplied the equipment never procured the licenses from the original manufacturer of these softwares and equipments. It also said the original equipment manufacturer had informed the Defence Ministry early this year that it had never authorized any Indian firm to customize its products.
Multi-barrel launcher Pinaka tested
BALASORE: The indigenously built multi-barrel rocket launcher (MBRL) 'Pinaka' was tested from the defence base at Chandipur-on-sea, near here on Wednesday. The test was jointly conducted by the defence scientists and the Indian Army.  Defence sources said four rounds of Pinaka rockets were fired from the launcher kept inside the Proof and Experimental Establishment (PXE), a part of Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO).  The exercise termed as 'demonstration trial' was carried out during noon. One rocket was used in each round.  The Pinaka MBRL, capable of acting as a force-multiplier, will gradually replace the current artillery system.  The tests were aimed at assessing its stability in flight as well as accuracy and consistency. The rocket launcher, which is also known as the Weapon Area System (WAS), can fire rockets with a range of 39-40 km and also launch 12 rockets with 1.2 tonne of high explosives within 40 seconds.  A scientist said Pinaka can neutralise a target area of 350 square km and is meant to supplement the existing artillery system at a range beyond 30 km.� It can be fitted with a variety of warheads ranging from blast-cum-pre-fragmented high explosives to anti-tank mines.  "Its quick reaction time and high rate of fire provides the Army an edge during low-intensity war-like situations. The unguided rocket system put under trial here could be used to neutralise a higher geographical area with its salvo of rockets," he added.  Pinaka, which has undergone several tough tests from 1995 and is in its advanced stage of development, was successfully used during the Kargil War.  The Pune-based Armament Research and Development Establishment has successfully produced the Pinaka system for the Indian Armed forces, to give it concentrated high volume firepower to destroy enemy targets.

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